Dr. Martin Salia has died of Ebola as he was being treated at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Salia was previously in his home country of Sierra Leone, where he was the Chief Medical Officer at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in addition to being a traveling doctor. It is unclear exactly how he became infected with Ebola.
In early November, days after testing negative for it, Salia began to experiencing kidney and respiratory issues and subsequently flown to the U.S. for immediate treatment and a hopeful recovery. He passed away on this Monday morning. The Medical Director of the Center released a statement:
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news. Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him. We used every possible treatment available to give Dr. Salia every possible opportunity for survival. As we have learned, early treatment with these patients is essential. In Dr. Salia’s case, his disease was already extremely advanced by the time he came here for treatment.”
The U.S. made positive strides in treating Ebola, as eight out of the ten publicized cases were cured, yet Dr. Salia’s passing is a sad reminder of its looming presence. Dr. Salia is the second individual to pass away from Ebola in America, as Thomas Eric Duncan was first in Dallas, Texas. The biocontainment unit in Omaha that treated Salia’s condition treated Ebola before successfully, so hopes were high for Salia to regain his health. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Salia is survived by his wife Isatu Salia, and their two sons, who reside in Maryland.